Friday, June 5, 2015

Doughnuts and Pride

Today is National Doughnut Day. Heading down the stairwell to walk to Dunkin Donuts for my free fried dough, I run into a wave of nostalgia; it hits my face and darts up my nose. Someone must have just walked down the stairs, leaving a trail of Turk-like cologne, because just then I didn't even realize that the Turk had a smell - or that I remembered it. Comfort and panic and surprise it all at once. The mind is quite a curious place. 

The last update left the Turk wishing me a Merry Christmas before he left for Turkey again, but that wasn't the end. The random and sporadic texts began again when her returned from Turkey again in January. "Hellooo," he wrote. "Happy new year," he typed to me 17 days past the new year, which led to very short and general conversation of how are you's, like strangers in an elevator. A few days later, I texted him to ask if he could recommend a place in Istanbul, as my cousin and I were discussing a trip. (We eventually settled on Cozumel.)

On January 28, he texted because he was driving by my place for work and was "going to stop by for lunch :)." That Saturday night, he texted that he was at the nightclub where we met "if you're around." I declined, saying I had just got home (and I was tired and not interested in a booty call, having been presently satiated by the single dad). A week into February, he called me as I was boarding my plane to Arizona to tell me about the information he got for us concerning our possible trip to Istanbul. I told him I couldn't talk; would call him the following week. I texted and he called after work; a short call that was only semi-useful in terms of our trip: He said he would send a link to his friend's hotel. 

Two days after that, "Happy Valentines" popped up onto my phone. Although, come to think of it, he might be the only man who wished me one. I asked for the link the next day and he finally sent it a week later. That's the last we spoke until the end of March. Under the guise of checking on if we were going to Istanbul and did I check out the link, he started texting. He asked what I was doing that Saturday and that he was going out with his friends and "maybe we run into each other." I told him probably not, as I had no plans to go out, still recovering from my weekend before in Boston. 

Turns out, however, that I did go out. An out of town girlfriend was in DC, so I passed it on to him thinking, "If they get bottle service, we can wriggle into it too." Only my attempts at being delightfully coy were met with an opposition, as when I asked where he and his friends were going, all he did was ask where I was going. I gave up on trying to remora onto their bottle service and my friends and I picked a spot to eat and drink. 

At 10p, the Turk texts to ask when we were going, to which I responded that we were already there. I asked - mildly miffed I was going to have to metro home, "Not going out, I take it?" 

"I do wanna go out though. Just took a shower; got dressed up." 

"Where you going?" I asked. 

"I don't know. If I go out, I"ll probably come to where you are." Perfect: Free ride home. Just after midnight, he shows up. My friends, having encouraged tequila into me before leaving the house, and I were already quite drunk. I saw The Turk walk up the steps and it was like breathing a breath of stale air. Ah. Yes, he does have a smell. I smelled him. It was reminiscent of desire and heartache. We hugged and went off to a less crowded area of the bar where my friends were flopping around like drunken fishes for a few minutes before they left and - I would later learn via Tinder message - a Tinder match, whom I had just accepted a date from, watched me flirt with the Turk. (We never went out, though he still tried.)

About an hour later, my friends were gone and I was finished with my vodka tonic and needed to go home. He offered to drive me. Directly out front of the bar was a baby blue WV Jetta, a far cry from his black Mercedes E63 AMG. "Who's car is this?" I inquired. 

"It's my friend's."

"Oh right," I said, suddenly remembering he said that he was out with them. "Where are they?"

"They're at another bar around the corner. I have to pick him and his girlfriend up at 2am."

"It's 1am now. How are you going to be back in time?" I wondered aloud.

"It's fine. I drop you off and come back," he said, confidently, as he shifted from reverse to first gear. Even drunk, I began to suspect something was amiss. The VW was new and I had only seen him out with one other friend, whose car he drove. The one who sat on the couch, drinking coffee last time we hooked up in October.

Back at my house, he ended up in my bed - both of us lying atop the comforter shoulder to shoulder. We chatted a bit and I cornered him into admitting that the car he was driving wasn't his friend's car (it being well past 2am, at this point,when he said he had to pick them up). Finally he confessed, "It's my car, but I still have my Mercedes at home. I can show you!"

"That's not necessary," I said through a muffled chuckle and already positioned to move onto my next mission: Getting him to admit that there were no friends out that night; that he made them up to have an excuse to see me. He, reluctantly, eventually admitted to that too. And then we hooked up, which didn't do much of anything for me and my tequila haze. It was quick and emotionless - I imagine he was frustrated with me, having used my brain and calling him out.

I woke up the next morning with that realization that that would, indeed, be the last time I would see the Turk. Because back in September when things were at the pinnacle of falling apart he posed the question: "What are you like in a break-up?"

"I don't know," I confessed after a contemplating pause, "Sort of like this...but every man that has ever broken up, always came back."

"I don't go back," he said, sternly. But he did come back. He wanted to spend time with me, without admitting that he wanted to spend time with me. Without admitting he missed any part of me - emotional or physical. He tiptoed around me, so completely unlike the confident Turkish King who swept me away, left me with no choice, and cast me aside all so easily and in such a short amount of time some months before. He had the power then; his pride still in tact, he vulnerabilities complete shielded, and his fear of rejection completely not necessitated. But calling him out on his bullshit opened a wound to all of the things he keeps closed from the world; his whole facade was blown.

And I realized that morning that stinging the pride of a man who defines himself by it, meant he would cut off himself off from that sting forever. And I didn't really mind - and almost sort of forgot - until a scent in the stairwell on the way to a free doughnut triggered my memory.  And so that's the ridiculous (and sort of hilarious and even a bit sad) finale to the saga of The Turk. 

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